Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lucie Thomas, French Assistant, Presents Paper at MAMA Conference

Lucie working with Dr. Woodruff on her conference paper
Saturday, February 22, Lucie Thomas, the Department of Languages French assistant, presented her paper at the Mid-America Medieval Association conference. We are so pleased with her success!

Here's Lucie's account in her own words:


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Last Saturday, the 38th annual conference of the Mid-America Medieval Association (MAMA) took place at the University of Missouri in Columbia. Dr. Woodruff and I had been preparing for a while for that day: I submitted a paper a few months before and I was to give a lecture in front of students, researchers and anyone who has interest in History. This was my very first lecture, and I was very excited about it.
In order to complete my Master’s degree when I am back to France, this June, I have been working since last September on a letter known as ‘The letter to Egbert’, written in Latin in the first half of the 8th century by an English monk, the Venerable Bede. The paper I submitted to MAMA was about the vocabulary and rhetoric in this letter.
The day was divided into 3 blocks of conferences taking place simultaneously in different rooms. Plus a guest speaker, who was expected to talk right after lunch. I was due to present my paper in the afternoon, in the last block. At first I thought it was the worst block, because I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the other presentations due to stress and paper proofreading until the last minute! However, it turned out the atmosphere was so relaxed that I was actually getting more and more impatient to start talking and sharing what I had worked on for several months. When I entered the room, I found out the two other presenters speaking before and after me were also graduate students, which helped me feel like I wasn’t there anomalously (which I tend to think every time I do something for the first time!).
Eventually, everything went well. Some people even asked me questions at the end.
It is very intense to speak a second language for twenty minutes, but so rewarding to realize that people can actually understand just what you want to say. To me, this is one of the best feelings in the world: to realize that something you thought impossible, such as communicating with people you weren’t meant to communicate with because they speak a language which used to sound like total nonsense to you, is actually possible merely thanks to your own will (to learn). This is very enriching. And I felt that way again after my lecture.
Moreover, I looked forward to that day because, as I said, I had never given a lecture before but I didn’t realize how much I could get from it. Having feedback on your research work, whether positive or negative, is highly appreciated and most useful. Research is not only about reading books and writing on your own but also sharing with other people. It made me even more motivated to keep working on the letter and gave me more confidence in my work.
Thus, I would like to thank William Jewell College for making me to live such an experience during my year in the United-States.
I would also like to give special thanks to Dr. Woodruff who talked to me about this conference, worked with me on this project and eventually accompanied me to Columbia; as well as Dr. Myers for her support; and also Yachu, who woke up so early just to come and hear me speak that day. Thank you!
Lucie presenting her paper


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